Dave Gram was a long time reporter for the Associated Press, is currently the host of what’s billed on WDEV as a “news talk” radio show (not an editorial or opinion show), and is an affiliated reporter with VT Digger. Today he was allowed to publish on that last platform a personal attack on another journalist, Guy Page, writer/publisher of Vermont Daily and news editor with VTWatercooler.com.
Let’s be clear here: Gram is a left-wing hack. He always has been. We thank him for finally ripping the mask away from his past absurdly comical claims regarding his own journalistic neutrality. The opening lines of Gram’s attack piece read:
Dante famously said that the worst parts of hell “are reserved for those who, in a time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
That’s a tough notion to swallow for many journalists, or even pretend journalists, for example, conservatives who try to use the tools and tropes of journalism to slow progress on the road to justice.
So, maintaining neutrality – a key ethical precept of professional news journalism – is not just unprofessional, it’s immoral. Right. Gotcha, Dave.
For context, Gram was upset that Page asked the Governor at a press conference if the government had a First Amendment responsibility to treat different points of view on things like Black Lives Matter equally. Specifically, if the state was not going to erase Pro-BLM graffiti on public property, was it not a violation of “equal protection under the law” to erase anti-BLM graffiti. Shouldn’t government policy be to apply the same standards to both or all positions on the issue and to not endorse one political message over another?
This is a legitimate question. Equal protection under the law is a foundational principle of our Democratic Republic. It is also at the heart of what BLM activists are supposedly fighting for – that we live up to the promise that all will be treated equally by law enforcement. Some would argue that further abandonment of the equal protection principle would actually, to use Gram’s phrase, “slow the progress on the road to justice,” not speed it along. There’s plenty of evidence that such unequal application of the law is sparking backlash and fueling animosity rather than healing and understanding. (Here’s an article from WPTZ, Black community member says painting has sparked division, made his family feel unsafe.)
But, to Gram, the “real” journalist is the one who doesn’t ask this question; the “pretend” journalist is the one who does. (It’s okay to laugh out loud.)
Gram also takes shots in his weird rant at True North Reports for, one supposes among other things, covering a story about how 500 residents of Mill River, Vermont, signed a petition asking their local school board not to fly BLM or Gay Pride flags over the school.
Public schools are a government-funded monopoly with a forced, captive audience of young kids. Is it proper for a public school to explicitly endorse any political movement or message? If BLM, why not MAGA? What voice does or should the community have is such decisions? Again, these are important questions a real journalist would explore – and only a biased pretend-journalist out to protect a particular a narrative would ignore. Right, Dave?
Gram is not just biased; he’s also not very smart. (Seriously, read his full article , try to follow the logic and come to a different conclusion.) Anyone who’s heard his radio show realizes he lacks intellectual and emotional capacity to deal with reasonable arguments associated with positions in conflict with his own, so, his solution is to avoid them entirely, dismiss them quickly, or, if he can’t do that, attempt to belittle the messenger.
What Gram doesn’t like about Guy Page and True North is that these are people who are actually acting like journalists and asking the difficult questions that he – as the pretend journalist he is – doesn’t think should be asked because the answers might upset his own particular world view. Happily, with his immature outburst here, Gram did us all the service of showing us not only that he himself is not a real journalist, but he pointed clearly to who is.
— Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Full disclosure: Rob works with Guy Page on the VT Watercooler project, and the Ethan Allen Institute purchases air time on WDEV weekdays following the Dave Gram Show.